Tom Sweeney

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Archive for April, 2012

Benefits of Using a Recruiter

Posted by sweens on April 26, 2012

Posted by Evelyn Amaro on April 19, 2012 at 9:30am –

Why should I use a recruiter?

 You are at your desk, or at home watching TV when you get a call from a recruiter who has found your contact information using the many secrets of the trade (sorry – that’s one secret I intend to keep). Before you hang up the phone, remember that recruiters can hold the keys to the hidden jewels of the job market. Use them and they may just open the door to a new career opportunity. I am not saying this because I am a recruiter, because I’m not – I just work for them. What I have learned working behind the scenes is the important role a recruiter can play in a persons career path. Even if you are not looking now, you may need their help later, so this applies to those who are blissfully happy with their careers, as well as those looking for a new opportunity. Here are the top 5 reasons why you should use a recruiter. Look for Part II: What to expect from your recruiter on Thursday.

  1. Hidden Job Market. I said earlier that recruiters hold the hidden jewels of the job market, and here they are – undisclosed jobs. Many times, especially with Sr level positions, companies have confidential roles that are for restricted eyes only. Companies then turn to recruiters for help with these positions. You cannot find these positions listed on Monster, or the various other job sites on the web. Imagine – your dream job may just be a recruiter away. This point goes hand in hand with #2.
  2. Connections. Recruiters have clout with hiring managers and sr. level executives – many of us do not. You send your resume to numerous companies, and post your resume on various job sites to no avail. You still haven’t heard a peep. Recruiters have the connections to not only get you in the door, but also get feedback – whether positive or negative – rather quickly. Think of how many others are applying to the same job you are…tons. Hiring managers and HR personnel simply cannot and do not have the time to review every resume. A recruiter can guarantee that you won’t be just another resume in a pile; you will be sent to Sr manager who will review your resume. Don’t you love recruiters just a little bit more now?
  3. Expertise. Are you underpaid? Overpaid? Are you ready for a Sr role? Are your technical skills up to par? There are a number of questions that can help you make an informed decision when it comes to strategic career planning, and a recruiter is a great resource to utilize. They can help you find answers and ask questions that will guide you to the right job and the right steps to take in order to advance your career. Best of all, this information is free, unbiased and essential when determining your position and worth in today’s job market.
  4. End Game is the same. You and your recruiter have the same goal, and that is to make sure you are putting your best foot forward, meeting the right people, and hopefully getting you an ideal role that is a perfect fit for both you and your future employer. Their on your side. This leads me to point #5…
  5. Long-term ally. Let’s say you found a recruiter, you find a job (whether it was their role or not), and you are now perfectly content, remember this may not always be the case. Come 3-5 years down the line you may decide to try your hands at a new company/role again. Or you may spend the rest of your days in the company you are working for, but may need advice when it comes to compensation, employee rights, etc… You now have an ally that is there for you to utilize. Recruiters (meaning legitimate, professional recruiters) are in it for the long haul. They are in the business of building relationships with both candidates and clients, and making sure both parties are equally satisfied. Therefore you not only gain a new role, but you also gain an important ally to guide you through your current and future career path.

So the next time a recruiter calls you, you just might want to pick up the phone.

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The Counteroffer: Why and How to Avoid This Losing Proposition

Posted by sweens on April 26, 2012

Posted by Gregory Saukulak on April 25, 2012 at 4:28pm

When an employee informs their supervisors of their resignation, they are sometimes confronted by what is known as a counteroffer – an employer’s “rebuttal” to the resignation in the form of a proposed salary increase or other perceived benefits

Many misinformed professionals have no hesitation in considering a counteroffer.  In fact, many will reason that a salary increase in their present position alleviates certain difficulties or concerns they have in their current role.   Additionally, submitting to the pressure of a counteroffer might simply feel like the easiest thing to do in an uncomfortable situation. For instance, the counteroffer may be incorrectly perceived as an easy way to acquire a monetary promotion and enables you to bypass the adjustments associated with transitioning to a new organization. In reality, although a counteroffer may seem like a tempting, even flattering quick fix for many employees, its acceptance should be avoided in order to protect your long-term career interests.  

If you are among those professionals who, following the announcement of your resignation would consider a counteroffer, you may want to reconsider your decision. The list below details the most important reasons why, once you have stated your decision to leave your current organization for a new opportunity, you should not back down, even if tempted by higher pay:

You’ve Wasted Your Time
You have already applied considerable effort in obtaining a better opportunity, motivated by some particular dissatisfaction within your current role. Why give that up? By accepting a counteroffer, the only “benefit” you’ll enjoy after all that effort is a higher salary. Meanwhile, you’ll remain unhappy with your manager, colleagues, responsibilities, the organization itself, or whatever it is that initially triggered your decision to leave.  And that higher salary may only be an upfront piece of any future raise you were going to get.  Thus, your future raises will probably be greatly diminished.

Professional Relationships Will Suffer
You are going to significantly tarnish your relationship with both your supervisors and managers. Management may feel as though you pressured them into offering a higher salary, especially if your continued employment with the firm was important to them for the accomplishment of certain key objectives.  As a result of these strained connections, you’ll be placed at a disadvantage in terms of receiving recommendations or referrals in the future.

Poor Implications for Promotions
The acceptance of a counteroffer implies that you are willing to take on additional responsibilities that you may be unprepared to handle. Unlike an organic promotion, your salary boost won’t be prompted by a display of outstanding performance or someone else’s resignation. Furthermore, you most likely won’t be considered by management for other promotions if the only way that you are able to obtain one is to admit that you have been offered a job at a higher salary.

You Won’t Be There Much Longer
Statistics show that employees who accept counter offers won’t remain in their current positions for more than one year.  In fact, according to US News, between 70 and 80 percent of those who take a counteroffer will leave the organization within nine months.  In this case, you’ll need to begin your job search all over again.

Now that you understand the rationale behind rejecting a counteroffer, you should know how to avoid the proposition in the first place. Before you even approach management to let them know that you are going to resign, you have to be absolutely grounded in your decision to take the offer at the new firm.  Any doubts will leave you vulnerable to the temptation of a counteroffer, so be sure to constantly remind yourself of why your decision to leave is the best path for your career. To solidify your decision about leaving your current position, put it in writing for management in the form of a resignation letter. The letter should include your intended last day with the firm, as well as a statement of the fact that your decision is final.  Finally, you must reiterate the definitiveness of your resignation in person. If the inevitable counteroffer is made, you can politely decline while stressing that the opportunity – not the salary – offered by the new position is best for your career.  

Clearly, the resignation process will sometimes be difficult for professionals given the frequent use of the counteroffer tactic by employers. The bottom line is that accepting this type of proposition will only amplify your original job dissatisfaction and lead to your eventual resignation or termination.

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Make Your Job More Meaningful

Posted by sweens on April 26, 2012

Bill Barnett
Bill Barnett led the Strategy Practice at McKinsey & Company and has taught career strategy to graduate students at Yale and Rice. He now is applying business strategy concepts to careers.

Work is a financial necessity for almost everyone, along with the sacrifices work sometimes demands. It can be drudgery. But work also can be fun and exciting. The competition can be energizing. Work can be an important and positive part of our lives.

I learned a lot about this from Amy Wrzesniewski and her work with job crafting (PDF). She describes three attitudes about work — what she calls jobs, careers, and callings. These three attitudes can indicate how satisfied individuals are in the workplace. Identifying your own outlook toward work can help you define what you need — or want — in your professional life.

People with a “jobs” mindset are working for the money and contain their time at work. All of the people I’ve known with this attitude tend to be dissatisfied, finding little meaning in what they do. They also are generally looking for something new.

Careerists work for advancement, pay, and prestige. I’ve seen careerists with widely different levels of happiness and satisfaction. If they think they’re “winning,” they’re happy. But others are concerned they’re not advancing at the pace they want, or they’re not in the role they deserve. While not entirely dissatisfied, they often wonder whether they’re being treated fairly or if there’s something better.

But people with callings are different. They see their work as a positive end in itself. They feel good about what they’re doing. They give more to their work. They get more from it. And here’s a secret about people with callings: Not only are they happy and fulfilled, they’re often very successful, sometimes bringing financial rewards.

Individuals with callings differ because of what they prioritize in their work. Their goals are distinctive in three ways:

1. They emphasize service. People with callings put a higher priority on helping others. Some are guided by the kind of lofty purpose that’s associated with leaders in religion, public service, or charity work. Others operate their businesses to serve their markets in ways that make customers better off.

Brian (names have been changed) is a good example. After finishing his MBA, he got a well-paid position with a socially conscious mutual fund. He liked the fund’s purpose, but he felt little connection between what he did and his desire to improve the planet. Then he had an idea — to provide a new category of food product that would improve diets. Even though his second baby was about to arrive, he took the risk to make this happen. He left the fund to found his own company, knowing he’d be living on his savings. Brian came to life. A decade later, with his products on many retail shelves, Brian remains excited about what he’s doing, how he spends his days, and how it benefits people. It’s a calling.

2. They emphasize craftsmanship. People with callings prioritize what I call craftsmanship. They want to make things happen and to be excellent in their fields, not just because of potential growth in their company but because they believe those things are intrinsically worthwhile.

Take manufacturing CEO Steve. Steve tightly focuses his personal value proposition on what he does best — leading manufacturing companies that need significant improvement in operations. Steve spots the complexity in operational processes before most others do. In a senior position, he’s had to learn how to become more than just a thinker; he’s learned how to mobilize and how to teach. That’s the only kind of position he’ll consider — both to continue his high performance and to deepen his expertise. Steve’s a craftsman.

3. They de-emphasize money. In making career decisions, people with callings push money to the background, instead choosing to focus on what a new role has to offer beyond its monetary rewards. No one I’ve known with a calling has had income as one of their top career objectives.

Nathan’s emphasis on service and accomplishment replaced his need for a significant paycheck. His childhood interest in education grew stronger in college when he saw the challenges facing children in urban schools. He became a teacher in a low income school and was excited to see the impact he was having on his students and their families. He declined promotions in the school system that would have increased his pay but taken him away from these students. He only moved to headquarters when the new role offered broad influence in teaching across multiple schools. Two years later, the school district promoted him to principal at the young age of 29.

Most people want the job satisfaction that comes with having a calling. If you see your work as merely a job or career, ask yourself if your outlook or priorities need to change. One route may be to redefine your tasks (PDF) or the way you think about your work to put greater emphasis on service and on craftsmanship. If you can reconfigure your work like this, you may find a calling or at least greater meaning and happiness. If you can’t, then it may be time to think about finding another position.

What else should you emphasize — or de-emphasize — to make your work more satisfying?

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How Your Social Media Profile Could Make Or Break Your Next Job Opportunity

Posted by sweens on April 24, 2012

Lisa Quast, Contributor

My husband and I have trained our three daughters on the importance of posting only appropriate information on any type of social media. This includes not posting certain pictures of Saturday night’s party on Facebook and not posting or Tweeting anything when they’re angry or in a bad mood. Now, managing your social media profile has become even more important – a 2012 survey demonstrates that your social media profile could make or break your chances of being hired.  

According to the 2012 annual technology market survey conducted by Eurocom Worldwide, “Almost one in five technology industry executives say that a candidate’s social media profile has caused them not to hire that person.” Previous Eurocom Worldwide surveys had found almost 40% of the survey respondents from technology companies review job candidate’s profiles on social media sites.

While we’ve all heard about the increase in companies checking the social media profiles of job candidates, this survey provides the first evidence that prospective job candidates are actually being rejected because of their profiles.


Are you using LinkedIn as an electronic résumé?

Tips to build a positive social media profile and avoid being rejected by a potential employer:

Facebook: Always follow the old saying about not posting anything that would make you embarrassed if it were published on the front page of a newspaper. Don’t use Facebook as a forum to vent on everything you hate about life, your job, someone else, or a company – talk to a friend in person if you feel the need to vent.  Some people recommend creating separate personal profiles – one for business and one for family and close friends only – but this is not recommended because it can be next to impossible to manage.

(Update: According to blog reader Jennie van Luptak, “creating dual professional/personal Facebook accounts is a serious violation of Facebook’s terms of service that could get you banned.”  If you are worried about what potential employers might see, Jennie recommends you “segment your friends using lists” because it allows you to “control who sees what – your supervisor gets to see the interesting news story you shared but not the pictures from last weekend.”)

LinkedIn: Better for job seekers than Facebook is LinkedIn because you can create a highly professional profile by using LinkedIn as an electronic résumé. This includes writing a succinct profile summary, adding your current job information, past job experience, education, skills, awards, and even obtaining testimonials from previous managers, co-workers, or direct reports. If you author a blog that relates to business or your work, be sure to include the URL information.  Then, you can encourage potential employers to review your information on LinkedIn.

With more and more companies jumping on the social media bandwagon, it only makes sense that searching social media for background information on potential job candidates will continue to grow. This will make it even more important that everyone actively manage his or her online persona.

Bottom line: Decide how you intend to use social media and to whom you will allow access (especially on Facebook).  Remember, if you want to ensure a potential employer never rejects you, make sure your online social profile depicts the type of employee a company would want to hire.

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How To Find A Job When You Don’t Know What You Want To Do

Posted by sweens on April 20, 2012

Heather R. Huhman, Contributor

Searching for a job is an arduous task…even when you know exactly what you’re looking for. And what about when you don’t? Perhaps you’re changing careers, or maybe you’re just starting out. Whatever the case, it can be difficult to find your next job when you’re not even sure what you’re looking for.

Figuring out what you want to do

To start, make a list of potential jobs and career paths that interest you. These may be directly related to your college degree (if you have one), or they may not. Then, start researching each field through online searches, consulting your network, and scheduling informational interviews or job shadows.

Experience is also an important factor of discovering your next job. Realize that you may need to try different jobs out before deciding on sticking with that particular career path. Internships, freelance work, and temp jobs are all great opportunities for test driving a career path and finding out exactly what you like (or dislike) about the position.

Consider past experience as well. What did you like about your past jobs? For example, if you were a cashier at a local supermarket, you may have found that customer service isn’t your forte, but there may have been other aspects of the job that you did enjoy.

Searching for your next job

Aside from identifying your ideal position, there may be other challenges in finding your ideal job. Many companies are now getting more creative with job titles to make their openings stand out on job boards and to convey more about the job — for instance, receptionist becomes “First Impressions Officer”. But unless you know you already want to work for that particular organization, how will you ultimately find these opportunities?

Mona Abdel-Halim, co-founder at Careerimp, the makers of Resunate, points out that the list of available jobs generated by existing job search engines “primitive”. “Job seekers are able to put in the position and location they are interested in, but it doesn’t really provide them with a list of the most relevant jobs. In addition to making certain opportunities more difficult to find, candidates may not know exactly what they are best suited for — for instance, a Project Manager at a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company requires many different skills from a Project Manager at a VC-backed tech startup.”

Finding the right fit

A job search tool that launched yesterday can help you discover positions that are a good fit for you., created by Careerimp, uses your experience to tailor job search results to show the positions for which you’re best suited. It analyzes information provided by you, such as your LinkedIn profile or resume, and semantically compares it against job descriptions sourced from job boards and directly posted by employers and then provides personalized job matches. Additionally, it also assesses positions based on your Myers-Briggs® personality type, which helps to determine if you will be satisfied in the position. Not only does this lead to a more diverse pool and better ranking of opportunities, but it also helps you optimize your efforts when applying for a new position.

Once you’ve found a position of interest on, you can then use Careerimp’s other service, Resunate, to convert your qualifications into a resume and receive objective feedback to improve your resume for the job before applying to it. currently has job postings from the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, and Pittsburgh but will be expanding soon.

Did you struggle figuring out what you wanted to do in your career? What advice do you have for others in similar positions?

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New survey suggests passive candidate recruiting is about to accelerate

Posted by sweens on April 19, 2012

LouAdler | December 19th, 2011 | 5:30 am

Last year I worked with the remarkable LinkedIn Research Network on a major survey of professionals’ job-hunting status. We refreshed the survey this year, and surprisingly, not much has changed: 83% of fully-employed respondents are not actively looking while only 17% are. Within a few percentage points, this is the same as last year.

The graph below summarizes the job-hunting status of the 4,550 respondents and what each group would look for if they were to switch jobs. Obviously, the less active the person, the more selective he or she was from a job needs standpoint.

Interestingly, of the 17% who were active candidates, less than half were first going to a company career site to find a job of interest. Instead these active job hunters were either trying to get a referral through an employee, or first searching for a job using a search engine or aggregator.


The 83% who classified themselves as passive split up into three big groups. The Tiptoers, 15% of the total, were very quietly and selectively contacting former co-workers to see if anything of merit was available. So in some way, these people could be considered slightly active. However, they would only move for a better job. Explorers (40% of the total respondents), who were open to explore a situation if a recruiter called, would only consider a major career move to make the switch. Super Passives, at 28%, were not looking at all, but most were still open to connect with a recruiter for future opportunities, making them a great group to network with.

In my mind, the sweet spot for sourcing and maximizing Quality of Hire includes Explorers, Tiptoers and Searchers. Searchers are active candidates who have just entered the job-hunting market, and getting to them first is a huge competitive advantage. This is where SEO/SEM comes into play. But you’d better not use boring job descriptions to capture their attention, since they’re looking for something better than what they now have. Remember, they are fully-employed and more discriminating than the very active candidates.

Since Tiptoers have indicated some interest in leaving, the best way to connect with them is through your employee referral program. Make sure your employees reach out to their best former co-workers and connect with them ahead of time. Then when the Tiptoers start looking, they’ll find your employees first. But again, make sure your jobs are compelling. Tiptoers are looking for something much better than they now have.

To find Explorers, I suggest using LinkedIn Recruiter by connecting with your employees and searching their first degree connections. Cherry pick the best from their network, ask your employee about their qualifications, then contact them. Since they’re prequalified and will call you back, you’ll be able to shorten the time to build a slate of final candidates to a few days. However, to be successful, it is vital you understand how to recruit and network with these people. Recognize that the recruiting process and workflow needed to source and recruit passive candidates is far different than the process used for active candidates. Explorers in particular will only engage with a corporate recruiter if the opening sounds like a great career opportunity, and even then they’ll want lots of information before proceeding. Despite this, Explorers are worth the time and effort.

As the labor markets continue to heat up, the first half of 2012 could be more challenging from a recruiting standpoint than thought just a few months ago. LinkedIn Recruiter is a great asset though, and in the right hands can help you through the toughest of recruiting challenges. All it requires to take full advantage of this vast network is a great recruiter and a great job. What else could you ask for?

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What Recruiters Look At During The 6 Seconds They Spend On Your Resume

Posted by sweens on April 10, 2012

Although we may never know why we didn’t get chosen for a job interview, a recent study is shedding some light on recruiters’ decision-making behavior. According to TheLadders research, recruiters spend an average of “six seconds before they make the initial ‘fit or no fit’ decision” on candidates. 

The study used a scientific technique called “eye tracking” on 30 professional recruiters and examined their eye movements during a 10-week period to “record and analyze where and how long someone focuses when digesting a piece of information or completing a task.”

In the short time that they spend with your resume, the study showed recruiters will look at your name, current title and company, current position start and end dates, previous title and company, previous position start and end dates, and education.

The two resumes below include a heat map of recruiters’ eye movements. The one on the right was looked at more thoroughly than the one of the left because of its clear and concise format:


recruiters resume



With such critical time constraints, you should make it easier for recruiters to find pertinent information by creating a resume with a clear visual hierarchy and don’t include distracting visuals since “such visual elements reduced recruiters’ analytical capability and hampered decision-making” and kept them from “locating the most relevant information, like skills and experience.” 

NOW READ: 11 things you should never include on your resume>

Read more:


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